Following the signing of the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Law (VAPPL), 2020 by Akwa Ibom State Governor, Udom Emmanue, rape suspects in the state may face up to life imprisonment.
The law empowers judges to hand down life imprisonment to anyone convicted of rape in the state.
Reacting, after the bill was assented to law, the state’s commissioner for agriculture and women affairs, Glory Edet, described VAPPL as a sledge hammer for rapists and perpetrators of gender-based violence.
She said: “I think this is one of the best things that has happened to protect the female gender and as the commissioner overseeing women matters , I believe the women of Akwa Ibom, the children and even our men are happy because this law will really teach defaulters a lesson.
“This law allows for the implementation of a lot of things we were praying for and prescribes stiffer punishment for violators of the Child’s Right Act , perpetrators of violence against citizens of both gender. Before now violators of the female gender had some years to spend in prison but VAPPL recommends life imprisonment to really deal with the offenders and discourage the spate of violence in our society.”
The commissioner added that sensitisation and awareness campaign on the new law will soon kick start.
Similarity, Uwemedimo Nwoko, the state attorney-general and commissioner for justice, said the law also provides 14 years imprisonment for perpetrators of gender-based violence and any kind of sexual offence other than rape.